Premium Brands aims for seafood to become a billion-dollar business

Premium Brands aims for seafood to become a 'billion-dollar' business

Canadian food producer Premium Brands Holdings is adding yet another company to its extensive list of acquisitions this year with the purchase of US-based processor Ready Seafood Co.

Premium Brands said in a statement today (4 September) it has signed a "definitive agreement" to acquire Ready Seafood located in Portland, Maine. The company was founded in 2004 by brothers John and Brendan Ready and has annual sales of around US$100m. 

Ready Seafood processes, distributes and markets lobsters for the US market from its three production facilities in Maine. Toronto-listed Premium Brands said its investment in the firm will lead to a run-rate in sales of around CAD400m ($304.1m), and operations will be expanded across Canada and into the U.S. east coast.    

While no financial details for the transaction were provided, George Paleologou, president and chief executive of Premium Brands, said in August that the Richmond-based firm had so far spent CAD541m on acquisitions this year.

Commenting on the investment in Ready Seafood, Paleologou said today: "They are disruptors in what has been a relatively stable industry and have not only brought about significant innovation to the segment but have also played a lead role in ensuring the long-term sustainability of the industry."

The CEO added that the Ready brothers will become key partners in Premium Brands' growing Seafood Group platform, which was created in 2008 with the acquisition of Vancouver Island-based B&C Food Distributors. 

"This transaction truly positions our Seafood Group as a leading North American seafood platform and further strengthens its management depth by adding a proven team whose talents, drive, entrepreneurship and vision have enabled them to achieve remarkable success in a relatively short period of time," Paleologou said. 

The deal is expected to be completed within the next four weeks and is still subject to regulatory approvals. Premium Brands said the acquisition should become immediately accretive to its earnings per share and free cash flow per share for 2018. 

Ready Seafood's chief executive Brendan Ready added: "With Premium Brands we have found a partner that not only shares our vision for the future but also understands and respects our distinct culture, which is at the heart of our success. John and I grew up in the seafood industry and are very proud of what we and our team have achieved over the past fourteen years as we have grown Ready from a small start-up to an industry leader with annual sales of over US$100m."